WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. — The Williams College Ephs (8-7/2-1 NESCAC) defeated the Bowdoin Polar Bears (5-9/1-2 NESCAC) by a score of 81-62 in Chandler Gym on Friday evening for their second consecutive conference victory.
"That's a team that plays us tough every year — they have guys that can make shots," Eph head coach Kevin App remarked after the game. "You have to take care of business on your home court, so I'm proud of our guys to come out and play well. It's great to come out on top."
Xander Werkman and Mickey Babek exchanged three-pointers in the first two minutes of play, and the game remained within four points for the first 6:44 of play.
With Williams holding a narrow 13-11 lead, a trey from Alex Stoddard gave the Ephs a five point edge, and sparked a 10-0 run. Bowdoin took a timeout down 23-11 with 10:25 left in the half. Karpowicz then knocked down a free throw out of the timeout to finish off a three-point-play and give him 11 points in under ten minutes of action.
The Eph run was halted after 13 straight points, but their defensive intensity did not let up. A Taiga Kagitomi jump shot with 8:48 to go in the half gave the Polar Bears their first field goal in five minutes.
"We know when we're playing with effort and enthusiasm," App said of the team's focus. "We don't want the defensive energy to be dictated by anything on the offensive end. That's one of the areas we've grown as a group."
The Polar Bears cut a 16 point deficit to 10 with a three-pointer from David Reynolds with 6:03 left; however, five free throws and a shot from behind the arc by Stoddard regained a 16 point lead for the Ephs, 36-20.
Henry Feinberg nailed the fifth Eph three-pointer of the night from the corner to put Williams up 41-25 at halftime.
Karpowicz and Reynolds led each of their teams with 13 points at the break. The Ephs shot 45% from the field in the half, while holding the Polar Bears to 35% shooting.
In the opening minutes of the second half, three-pointers from Babek and Feinberg negated consecutive long range shots from Reynolds. Highlight plays for the Ephs in the first ten minutes of the half included a dunk from Karpowicz and three-pointers from Stoddard and Spivy.
After Babek hit another trey, Nate Karren buried a hook shot to push the Eph advantage to 66-45 with 9:47 to play, their first 20 point lead of the evening.
Marc Taylor entered the contest for the Ephs with 5:28 to play, his first game in 357 days after an injury against Trinity on January 25 of last season. He sunk a free throw on his third offensive possession to increase the Eph lead to 74-55.
"Anytime a guy loses time with an injury, you feel bad for him," App said of Taylor. "He's worked really hard to come back, and I'm so excited for him. It's been fun having him more active in practice the last couple weeks, and to get to start easing him into games is exciting. It will definitely give our team a spark."
The Ephs would hold on for a 19 point victory. Spivy led the team in scoring with 18 points, while Karpowicz had 17 on 7-10 shooting. Babek and Stoddard added 13 and 12, respectively. Williams shot 26-60 (43%) from the field and 12-28 (43%) from three-point range. Four Ephs pulled in five or more rebounds.
Reynolds posted 25 points on 9-18 shooting for the Polar Bears, who shot 24-58 (41%) as a team.
"He's one of the best scorers we've played against the last four years, and he showed that again tonight," App said of Reynolds.
Sam Grad and Werkman contributed nine points a piece.
The Ephs are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they host undefeated Colby (14-0/3-0 NESCAC) at 3 p.m.
"Colby is a great offensive team, and they've shown that," App said. "They're going to challenge us, so hopefully our experience against other shooter-oriented teams like Endicott will help. We're going to have to bring it on both ends, and see what happens."